Page last updated at 18:50 GMT, Friday, 29 August 2008 19:50 UK

'Last' female WWI veteran dies

Gladys Powers moved to Canada after World War One.

A woman thought to have been the last surviving female veteran of World War I has died, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.

Gladys Powers died aged 109 in British Colombia, Canada, earlier this month.

Originally born in Lewisham, south London, she emigrated to Canada at the end of the war.

She served with the Women's Auxiliary Corp and later the Women's RAF. Her funeral was held in Canada on Friday, the MoD confirmed.

Little remains of the service records of the women who served during WWI as they were destroyed during the Blitz in 1940, making it impossible to formally confirm her time in the military.

Veterans Minister Derek Twigg said he was "saddened" by her death and paid tribute to her military contribution.

"Over 80,000 women served in our armed forces during that war," he said.

"Although they may not have realised it at the time, these early women volunteers did much to break down the barriers for all those service women who have come after them and who continue to serve their country today so proficiently and professionally."

Mr Twigg has written a letter of condolence to Greg Thompson, the Canadian Minister for Veterans Affairs.

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